Cubs-Dodgers NLDS Preview

Here’s how the Chicago Cubs (97-64) stack up against the Los Angeles Dodgers (84-78) going into the 2008 National League Divisional Series. 

First Base

Derrek Lee – Cubs vs James Loney – Dodgers: Lee is higher in virtually all offensive categories, and is a Multiple Gold Glover.  Advantage: Cubs

Second Base

Mark DeRosa – Cubs vs Jeff Kent– Dodgers:  DeRosa is arguably the Cubs MVP for his versatility and reliability. He set career highs in average, HRs, RBI & Runs. Kent is a 17 year veteran who is definitely past his prime. While his numbers are below career averages, he has been prolific against the Cubs over his career. If Kent is healthy, this one is a toss up.

Shortstop

Ryan Theriot – Cubs vs Angel Berroa/Raphael Furcal– Dodgers:  Furcal only returned from injury the last week of the season. Logic dictates he will split time with Berroa. Furcal brings a big bat, but Theriot brings consistent on-base with a .307 season average and .387 on-base. If Berroa plays, clear edge to Theriot. If Furcal plays and is healthy, toss-up leaning toward Furcal, but those are a lot of “ifs”.  Edge to Cubs for consistency.

Third Base

Aramis Ramirez – Cubs vs Blake DeWitt – Dodgers: A-Ram brings his big, clutch stick and underrated defense. DeWitt’s .260 average and 9 bombs pales in comparison. Clear edge to Cubs.

Left Field

Alfonso Soriano – Cubs vs Manny Ramirez– Dodgers: Manny has been super-human since becoming a Dodger 53 games ago. He hit nearly .400 with 17 bombs and an RBI per game, carry the Dodgers into the playoffs. Soriano is no slouch and can easily rival those numbers on one of his 10-day tears, but short of that, it’s all Manny. Clear edge to Dodgers.

Center Field

Edmonds/Johnson – Cubs vs Matt Kemp– Dodgers: One of the most productive platoons of all time, Jim Edmonds and Reed Johnson have combined for very solid numbers out of the CF position, each with many clutch hits as well. Their defense has been from good to great with some very big plays sprinkled in. Kemp is very solid offensively and can steal you a bag when needed. Lots of strikeouts, but overall I think the CF magic comes from the Northsiders. Toss up to slight edge to the Cubs.

Right Field

Kosuke Fukudome – Cubs vs. Andre Ethier– Dodgers: Kosuke started out strong at the plate but has not made the necessary adjustments to the league after July 1st. He is a liability at the plate these days but a stellar defender. Ethier is a .300 hitter with some pop and has been hot lately. Edge to the Dodgers. 

Catcher

Geovany Soto – Cubs vs Russell Martin– Dodgers: Runaway Rookie of the Year candidate Geovany Soto has been nothing short of excellent. He hits for average, for power, in the clutch, can handle the pitchers, and gun down runners. The only single category I can give to Martin is he is faster – although Soto had an inside the park homer this year. Russell Martin is no slouch, but Soto wins this one. Edge to Cubs.

Starting Pitching

Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ted Lilly – Cubs; Derek Lowe, Chad Billingsley, Hiroki Kuroda, Clayton Kershaw– Dodgers:  With little doubt, both of these teams can pitch. The Cubs have guys who can absolutely shut you down on a given night while the Dodgers run out guys who keep them in games and give them the chance to win. If they are on, the Cubs will dominate here, but the Dodgers rotation should not be overlooked. Derek Lowe in particular has pitched very well against the Cubs, particularly in Wrigley Field. Edge to the Cubs.

The Bullpen

Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, Bob Howry, Neal Cotts, Jeff Samardzjia, Jason Marquis – Cubs; Takashi Saito, Jonathan Broxton, Joe Beimel, Cory Wade, Chan Ho Park, Greg Maddux(!) – Dodgers: In Wood & Marmol, the Cubs have a ‘game over’ setup-closer combination. Getting to the 8th often requires a 7th inning reliever and this has been less of a sure thing for the Cubs. The Dodgers bring Saito, Beimel and flamethrower Broxton with Maddux as a potential wild card. From an ERA perspective, the Dodgers have the numbers but if the Cub starters can go 7 innings, Cubs would have the edge.  This one is a toss up.

In summary, Cubs are the better team on paper and their body of work this season is dominant from a numbers stand point. Home-field advantage certainly helps with Cubs having won 55 games in Wrigley this year. If the Cubs continue to do what they’ve been doing all year, this series will go by quickly.  I like the Cubs in 4.

If you haven’t already, get your free download: A Fan’s Guide to the 2008 Cubs Playoffs from CubHub.net!



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    September 30, 2008   Posted in: lineup, playoffs, roster

    One Response

    1. Gregg - October 1, 2008

      I think another good match-up to watch is going to be Piniella vs. Torre. Both managers with 1,700+ wins…Torre 12 straight years of post-season managing (albeit early exits the last three). They’ve met in post-season twice before. In both the 2000 & 2001 ALCS, Torre’s Yankees beat Piniella’s Mariners. Look for all these games to be well-managed.

      Here’s to the first of eleven more wins tonight.

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